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Connie Smith's Long Line of Heartaches Released Today!

New recordings by the country music legend Connie Smith, long acclaimed as one of the greatest singers in the history of the genre have been as rare as the voice and knowing singing she brings to them.  Long Line of Heartaches, her first full album of new material since 1998 (and only her second since 1978) is an event in the making. That’s not just for the rarity, or because her legions of fans have so long awaited this news, but because in its range of undiluted traditional country moods, themes, rhythms and sound, this new Sugar Hill release is simply, unmistakably a new Connie Smith masterpiece, offering the pleasures of the very best that saw release during her remarkable run of recordings during the 1960s and ‘70s.

“And that,” she says. “is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve had people ask me what this album was going to be like, since it’s been a long time since they’ve heard me on record, but my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is.”

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this recording, and it’s a personal reason, is that I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it.  The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I’ve always loved.”

The album’s dozen new tracks, potent songs of heartache, joy, and spirit recorded at Nashville’s celebrated RCA Victor Studio B, where Connie recorded most of her chart-topping hits in her first years as a recording artist, include five new traditional country songs co-written by Connie and husband Marty Stuart, the project’s producer.  Memorable songs come from long favored Smith sources such as icons Harlan Howard, Foster & Rice, Kostas`, Johnny Russell and Smith’s + longtime collaborator Dallas FrazierFrazier’s song “A Heart Like You” becomes the 69th Frazier composition that Smith has recorded – breaking his 30 years of songwriting silence, an event within itself.
Having become an overnight country sensation in 1964 when her first single, “Once a Day”, became a number one hit, the first time a female country singer’s debut single accomplished that.  Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hits in the following years that have become country standards, including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, “Just One Time”, “Run Away Little Tears” “I never Once Stopped Loving You” and “The Hurtin’s All Over”. She became a star whose iconic voice has influenced other singers for decades. She has recorded a string of 53 albums notable for their quality and range.
To this legacy she now adds Long Line of Heartaches, featuring her band The Sundowners and, for the first time, her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi who add striking family harmonies on the contemporary hymn “Take My Hand.”
“I still love to sing as much as I ever did.  I could sing at the kitchen sink and I’d be happy. I feel it is my destiny to sing.”  Country music fans everywhere should rejoice in the fact that we get to be a part of that destiny.
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CONNIE SMITH TOUR DATES

08-26     Louisville, KY - Ear-X-Tacy
08-27     Knoxville, TN - Disc Exchange
09-01     Du Quoin, IL - DuQuoin State Fair
09-07     Nashville, TN - Music City Roots
09-16     Idabel, OK - Choctaw Idabel Casino
09-17     Pocola, OK - Choctaw Pocola Casino
09-23     Pigeon Forge, TN - Country Tonite Theatre
10-01     Sandstone, MN - Midwest Country Music Theater
10-08     Renfro Valley, KY - Renfro Valley Entertainment Center - New Barn
10-12     Americana Music Convention - Showcase time tba
01-14     Weirsdale, FL - Orange Blossom Opry
02-03     Pace, FL - Farmer's Opry
02-04     Weirsdale, FL - Orange Blossom Opry
04-17     St. Cloud, MN - Paramount Theatre

Introducing Europe '72: Vol. 2

If you've been hoping for a more fiscally or physically manageable taste of the great tour of '72, look no further. Ready for release on September 20 is Europe '72: Vol. 2, a two-CD set featuring 20 newly mixed, never-before-released gems from that epic and historic adventure. As you probably know from all the Europe '72: The Complete Recordings hoopla, engineer Jeffrey Norman spent many months mixing down the 16-track master tapes from every show for the humongo-box, while mastering ace David Glasser put on the final polish and brought the sonics up to HDCD specs. You've probably heard various circulating soundboard tapes from these shows through the years, but trust us, you haven't heard the music sound quite like this before!

Grateful Dead vaultmeister and box producer David Lemieux was tasked with coming up with a two-disc compilation that would work as a worthy successor to the classic original album, a whopping 39 years later. And there was this guiding philosophy: There would be no songs that appeared on the original 3-LP set. Whoa! No "Truckin'"? "Morning Dew"? "China Cat"? Nope! But what's here is magnificent, including a spectacular, nearly hour-long combo of "Dark Star" > "The Other One" from the famous Bickershaw Festival in England (5/7/72); a kickin' version of "Not Fade Away" > "Goin' Down the Road" > "Not Fade Away" from the super-charged first night of the tour in London (4/7); and the always-moving "Sing Me Back Home" from the last night of the tour (5/26). There's also a wonderfully varied selection of other tunes from Copenhagen, Paris, Frankfurt and Luxembourg, including favorites such as "Bertha," "Playing in the Band," "Good Lovin'," "Black-Throated Wind," "Sugaree," "Deal" and many more.

Stanley Mouse who, along with his late partner Alton Kelley, created the memorable "Ice Cream Kid" and "Rainbow Foot" images for the original Europe '72 package, sweetens the deal with soon-to-be classic artwork featuring the return of the Kid! "Trouble comes in many flavors," Mouse cryptically commented recently. "Ice Cream Kid is in hot water. The jury is out. His only defense is love."

Will Hoge Reveals More Details About NUMBER SEVEN!

Nashville singer/songwriter Will Hoge is primed to release his 7th studio album, NUMBER SEVEN, on Sept. 27 on Ryko.  Throughout his career, Hoge has survived and thrived through endless miles in vans and buses, landing a mainstream record deal early in his career and triumphantly overcoming a life-altering accident two years back.  If, as mentioned in Rolling Stone and elsewhere, Nashville has finally landed on the national rock and roll map, Hoge has been there all along.

Now, Hoge comes forth with NUMBER SEVEN, an album that poignantly captures his penchant for lonesome blues as well as country influences that have always been present in his music.  “Gone” would sound comfortably at home on contemporary country radio, while “No Man’s Land” is a twanging exposition of the gulf between men and women.  At the same time, Hoge’s poetic side is represented by two thought-provoking songs.  “American Dream,” a profile of a homeless man living amidst a devastated economy, gets right to the core of this tragic situation by stating “I’d give it all right back to just be looked at like a man.”  A similar claim to dignity suffuses the epic “Illegal Line,” which humanizes the oft-demagogued issue of immigration.

“People complain that there’s nothing from current musicians that has any sort of weight or political commentary,” says Hoge. “And I think rock and roll is a little lesser for that at this point.  So, I really wanted to go there on this album and talk about some things that aren’t necessarily being talked about by other artists right now.  I’m really proud of this album. Everything I’ve been through in the last couple of years has caused me to slow down and be more thoughtful about what sort of music I’m putting out. The process of creating music has changed too.  For the first time, I feel like this album really encompasses everything about me as an artist.  I’m just ready for everyone to hear it!”

The album’s grand finale, and first single, “When I Get My Wings”, looks to that other musical city in Tennessee for inspiration and lets Hoge uncork on a full-throated Otis Redding-style vocal with a heavenly host of Memphis-inspired horns.

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NUMBER SEVEN track list:

1.    Fools Gonna Fly

2.    Too Old To Die Young

3.    Goddamn California

4.    American Dream

5.    Gone

6.    The Illegal Line

7.    Silver Chain

8.    Nothing To Lose

9.    No Man’s Land

10.  Trying To Be A Man

11.  When I Get My Wings

NUMBER SEVEN follows up Hoge’s 2009 release, THE WRECKAGE, which was hailed as “triumphant” by the BBC; “welcome and worth the wait” by USA Today and described by American Songwriter as follows: the “eleven tightly crafted songs retain the artist’s self-assured, Southern swagger.”  The long-time road warrior is planning a rigorous touring schedule with upcoming headlining dates this fall.  Details and ticket information will be announced in the coming weeks.

INXS plays the hits & more at the Ogden Theatre

As I eagerly anticipated INXS’ show at Denver’s Ogden Theatre, I will admit that I didn’t know if I was going to witness an act that was well past its prime and just going through the motions.

Wayne Mills Band Releases New Single

Alabama-based Wayne Mills Band will release their first single, "She Knows the Words to Every Song," to radio August 16. Mills co-wrote the track to be featured on his new album, Long Hard Road, which will mark the first project for new Nashville record label Diesel Records.  "She Knows the Words to Every Song" will also be available on Itunes and www.waynemillsband.com August 16. Seasoned producer, Denny Diante, produced the track for the label's flagship artist.

"This song is a reflection of the emotions anyone, who works out of a suitcase, may go through while they are away from the one they love," says Mills. "My wife has been my biggest support system through the years and I wanted to express to her what she means to me and how I can't wait for us to just getaway with 'She Knows the Words to Every Song.'"

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Wayne Mills Band

Wayne Mills will soon release his 7th studio album, Long Hard Road, where he worked with powerhouse producer Denny Diante under new Nashville record label, Diesel Records. Mills, a native of Arab, AL, showcases his versatility as a singer/songwriter with tracks including “I Need the Country, Whiskey Bent and Jail Bound” and the title track “Long Hard Road” which tells the lonesome tale of a man making bad decisions and working through the consequences. With more than fifteen years of touring experience under his belt, Wayne has proved himself the consummate performer with a huge following in the Southeast while gaining influence in other markets.  This outlaw's traditional country style blended with an edgy rock sound will please new and old country music fans alike with Long Hard Road. His music is the soundtrack to his life: leaving no stone unturned when it comes to lyrics and his life.

Greensky Bluegrass Offers Free Five Song EP Download from New Album, Handguns

An independent band nationally-recognized for their live show, Greensky Bluegrass defy the boundaries of acoustic music with their self-produced fourth studio effort, Handguns, released on October 4.

This new studio offering is a brave expression of what separates their original music from the rest of the bluegrass genre. For years, while the Kalamazoo, MI band has been gaining recognition for their high energy live show, Handguns proves that they can handle themselves in the studio as well.

Recent internet chatter would have you believe that the entire music industry is lost in a vast and inescapable dust bowl; everything that was once thriving and sustainable has now dried into a mere husk of what it once was. But lest we forget, bands used to make their living on the road, playing in front of new audiences every night. Albums were something that were recorded in between tours and then sold on the road to help keep gas in the tank. It’s the way it was and it looks like the way it might become, but the music never stops.


Handguns was recorded in between tours this winter as the band holed up in a studio in Lansing, committing the songs straight-to-tape on the exact recording console that originally birthed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s infamous track "Free Bird” decades earlier. Matching the warmth of the analog sound, vintage microphones were utilized alongside state-of-the-art studio equipment to create a truly blended and artful sonic experience.

This overlap of traditional and forward-thinking runs throughout most every aspect of Greensky Bluegrass. The opening cut is titled "Don't Lie", and the result of "Handguns" is just that, a collection of songs that speak true. Greensky doesn't boast to know it all, but they don't restrain, letting the listener in on the trials and triumphs of their journey.

"Should have been a farmer and blamed it on the weather, with soiled hands and a tired back to show for my efforts," sings Hoffman on the album's title track.  Modest maybe, but as the listener continues, they are relieved that the band did not trade their instruments for plows or cubicles.

Greensky has continued to gain national momentum since they won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s coveted Band Competition in 2006 and have been invited to play at this summer’s Northwest String Summit, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and NPR’s Mountain Stage, while also playing at Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot and The Hangout Festivals. They’re a bluegrass band but they’re not. Bluegrass doesn’t have distortion, or horns for that matter. Handguns does.

Of course, none of this happened overnight or without sacrifice. Greensky Bluegrass is just as much a grit of the asphalt band as they are a salt of the earth band, having played over 160 shows nationwide, every year, for the last six years. It was by winning over folks on the band’s never-ending tour that got them where they are today – not by a label, syndicated radio play or being on the shelves at big box stores.

As a bonus for all, Greensky Bluegrass is giving away half of Handguns for free. This five-song Handguns EP is available on the Greensky Bluegrass website for anyone who wants to listen.

The motive? To be heard.  For musicians, the model has changed with satellite radio where the F word flies free and name-your-own-price record releases. One thing remains true, however: when the music is great, people will listen.

Happy Birthday, Jerry Garcia!

Jerry Garcia would be turning 69 years young today.  You're incredibly missed!

Some of my personal favorite in-person Jerry moments:

1) 9/18/87 -- My first deadshow -- I saw Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead within weeks of each other.. talk about two amazing bands (granted this was Pink Floyd without Roger Waters.. but still amazing) -- the difference in the crowd's reaction could not have been more different.. bare in mind I was 16 years old -- The Floyd crowd could not move from their seats, whereas the dead crowd could not sit still. Both concerts were incredible and from the moment forward, i was hooked!  -- set 2!  Most amazing Dew of the 80's!  Good Lovin > La Bamba > Good Lovin! -- So much fun!

2) 3/29/90 -- Everyone has heard the stellar Eyes of the World with Branford Marsalis -- but being at the show with my high school gf, the immediate chemistry between Garcia and Marsalis, and just the energy in that crowd during set 2 -- something I'll never forget.

3) 6/25/91 -- I've seen Jerry having a good time on stage, but I've never seen him boogying down like he did this night --  Having killer seats helped -- normally I've been stuck seeing Jerry look more like an ant at Giants Stadium, but at this show I was in the 10th row, center stage, and I could actually see Jerry's smiles and he was dancing up a storm.  Good stuff!

4) 6/28/92 -- A crummy year for the Dead, Jerry had to take time off (remember the entire east coast Sept fall tour was canceled), he was really heavy, looked horrible -- but I will say we lucked out this night at Deer Creek -- Great setlist, as much energy as you'll find at any show in '92, and of course the killer Casey Jones encore.. at least I got to hear the tune once live!

5) 5/16/93 -- The entire weekend in Vegas was a blast!  Kimock was playing late night sets at the Alladin -- the weather was just so crazy and fun (storms, crazy winds, rainbows, you name it) -- set 2, particularly pre-space/drums -- killer!  Samson, Help-slip-Franklins (best Franklins of the 90's) and a killer Looks Like Rain -- The rest of the set was good, but not quite as good -- the Elvis-filled space was pretty out-there.

6) 6/15/95  -- Highgate, VT -- the show sucked!  Dylan blew the dead away! -- But... 100,000 deadheads in Vermont still cannot be un-fun!  -- The scene was HUGE --  Never felt more like a herd of cattle than when 100K moved an inch a minute (took about 3 hours -- or at least felt like it) to make it back to their campsites.  Sadly I saw only two more shows after this.. both at Giants and both crummy as well... but I am still incredibly thankful for the time I got to spend in the same halls as you, Mr. Jerry Garcia.

Some other great ones.. JGB at the Warfield!  It was like seeing Jerry in your living room!

Lots of Love,

The Grateful Web

Sam Llanas of the BoDeans readies solo album '4 a.m.'

Sam Llanas (pronounced yanas), lead singer-guitarist for the acclaimed Milwaukee band the BoDeans, takes listeners deep into the night on his new release, 4 A.M., arriving Oct. 25 on Inner Knot Records. The intimate, mostly acoustic collection, produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin, features 10 new Llanas originals and a dazzling cover of Cyndi Lauper’s hit “All Through the Night.”

Llanas says of his latest work, “I do a lot of work late at night. It’s a night record, a nocturnal record, thematically about things that happen in the night. That covers a lot of ground. It could be the simple things — being in love, being with somebody — or about the loneliness that the night can bring.”

The album, an understated complement to the BoDeans’ just-released 10th studio album Indigo Dreams, is markedly different from Llanas’ 1998 solo bow A Good Day to Die, which was a powerful eulogy for Llanas’s brother recorded under the group rubric Absinthe.

“The Absinthe record was kind of bombastic and very intense,” Llanas says. “I wanted to do something that was lighter, as light as I can get. I wanted it to be completely different. That’s why 4 A.M. is pretty much an acoustic record.”

Work on 4 A.M. began nearly four years ago, when Llanas’ band the BoDeans, which he has led since 1983, was between projects.

He recalls, “I had time on my hands, and I had some songs I wanted to record. I started working with Terry Vittone — I just said, ‘Hey, let’s make some recordings.’ There was no real thought that it was going to be an album or anything like that. It just sort of escalated from there.”

Sessions for the embryonic project commenced at guitarist Vittone’s house. “I would record the songs in the afternoon,” Llanas says, “and get them to a point where I liked them. Then the next day I’d go back, and Terry would say, ‘Sam, I want you to hear some ideas I threw down on the track.’ And Terry was willing to take really strong direction from me, because I didn’t want a guitar player who was playing all over the song. Terry was really good at putting in the nuances that were needed. He played very little, and that seemed to work very well.”

With the majority of the material in the can, a protracted layoff from recording ensued. After almost two years, Llanas began completing 4 A.M. at Daystorm Music in Milwaukee with producer-musician Tanin, who had also worked on A Good Day To Die and supplied the strings on the new recording.

Llanas decided to preserve the original recording’s spare quality, and added a couple of new tracks that were left untouched. “I wanted to keep it simple. ‘The Way Home’ and ‘Janey’ seemed to work really well just the way they were.”

However, he adds, “I thought the other songs needed a bit more dressing up. Some I thought would work better if we put a little bit more on them.” Thus, BoDeans keyboardist Bukka Allen was called in to play accordion, while Milwaukee musicians Matt Turner and Ryan Schiedermayer contributed bass and percussion, respectively.

Some of the compositions on 4 A.M. began life as prospective material for the BoDeans, Llanas says: “‘Nobody Luvs Me’ was actually recorded with the BoDeans, but it’s quite a different version — you wouldn’t really know it’s the same song. ‘Shyne’ was on our album Mr. Sad Clown. I thought that would work really well there, so I brought it into that project. The first song on 4 A.M., ‘Oh, Celia,’ was demoed with the BoDeans years and years ago. That’s quite an old song.”

Nestling seamlessly with Llanas’ own cycle of before-dawn melodies is his hushed cover of Lauper’s 1983 perennial “All Through the Night,” penned by Jules Shear. “It’s a beautiful song,” Llanas says, “but when they recorded it, in the early ’80s, the sound that they got on it was so harsh . The keyboards always ruined the song for me. I really wanted a version of that song that was just beautiful. That’s what I tried to do — honor that song, and give it what it deserved.”

Llanas’ new solo opus offers a new dimension to his music — one that actually dates back to the sunrise of his professional career.

“Before I ever had the BoDeans, I was a solo performer in Waukesha,” he remembers. “I would go and play at these open mic shows, and I learned my craft and honed my stage skills that way. I think this record really reflects that part of my career, that part of my personality. It goes back to before I ever performed with the BoDeans. It was just me — one man and one guitar.”

Esteemed rock critic and author Dave Marsh calls 4 A.M. “A great record. Really the best thing that has come out of their music in a long, long time — closer to classic BoDeans. Sammy’s voice is so much what I love about BoDeans and it has never been showcased any better.”

Jantsen, Devin Martin @ Boulder Theater

We’re bringing the best dubstep Colorado has to offer.  Jantsen is no stranger when it comes to electronic music. This Colorado native has been fully immersed into the dance music scene for over 12 years with his passion later blossoming into DJing and producing. Over the years Jantsen has established a strong presence in the scene through his eclectic sound, being influenced by many genres such as jazz, blues, funk, rock, hip hop, and many other kinds of world music he brings a style that is creative, unique, and is continuously evolving. Devin Martin and his hometown of Orlando's weather have one thing in common right now: They're on fire. His unique mix of electro-house and dubstep has recently culminated in 3 tracks in the Beatport top 100. In addition, this is Devin Martin's debut Colorado performance, so he's definitely got some surprises in store.

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More Info / Buy Tickets

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Jantsen, Devin Martin
Rainbow Wheel of Death, Coult 45
July 16, 2011, 8:30 pm

Thomas Dolby debuts 'The Floating City' transmedia game

Best known as the singer/synthesist behind the Top 5 smash hit “She Blinded Me With Science” and as the co-inventor of the Beatnik polyphonic ringtone engine, Thomas Dolby today announced his latest creation: The Floating City is a rich transmedia game with a living world that changes and reacts to player contributions. It uses web browsers, social networks, and even smart phones and iPads as a way for fans to access his latest musical endeavors.

The Floating City is open for registration from today at floatingcity.com. Gameplay commences on June 22nd at 5 p.m. GMT (1 p.m. ET in the U.S.). Players from around the world will form tribes and collaborate to earn free music downloads, merchandise and concert tickets. The leading tribe will even win the right to stage a private concert at which Thomas Dolby and his band will perform his forthcoming album in its entirety.

Completely free to the public, The Floating City is a casual game that hooks you into building a whole story world with your tribe — as deep as you want to go. It runs on a standard web browser, smartphone or iPad without additional software installation. It is targeted at players of all ages, regardless of whether they are familiar with Thomas Dolby’s catalog. But diehard fans of the five-time Grammy™-nominated songwriter will be delighted to find that The Floating City integrates characters, places, and objects named in every one of his albums going back to the beginning of his career . . . and before.

The Floating City is set against a dystopian vision of the 1940s that might have existed had WWII turned out a lot differently,” says Dolby. A global energy experiment went haywire, the Earth’s magnetic fields have been reversed, and the planetary climate system violated. Science has betrayed us: now what must the species do to survive?

Survivors explore a fictional Google map, forming tribes and trading relics amidst a bizarre sea-going barter society. As they struggle to unravel the enigma that is The Floating City, players can haggle over merchandise and music downloads — including brand new songs from the much anticipated CD A Map of the Floating City, Dolby’s first album in 20 years, which will be released following the climax of the game.

“This is a brilliant concept,’ said writer/economist Steven Levitt. “It’s a cross between Freakonomics and Burning Man, with a back-story that would have made J.G. Ballard proud.”

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About Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby became a huge star in the ’80s when his songs “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and were on constant rotation at MTV. His unique keyboard playing led to guest performances with the likes of David Bowie (Live Aid), Stevie Wonder (Grammy™ awards) and Roger Waters (The Wall) and he became a top producer, garnering five Grammy™ nominations.

Dolby abandoned the music business in the 1990s to found Beatnik Inc., a Silicon Valley tech company that built the ringtone synthesizer embedded in over 3 billion mobile phones worldwide. Now retired from Beatnik, he has returned to music and has been completing his first studio album in more than 20 years.

The Floating City game consolidates Dolby’s reputation as one of the foremost pioneers of electronic alt-culture. On hearing of the game, counter-cabaret diva Amanda Palmer commented: “Thomas Dolby is to Steampunk what Iggy Pop was to Punk!”